Snow days: the one thing that made living in a suburban tundra actually worth it. As a teenager, snow days were my chance to savor late wake up times, catch up on TV and attempt backyard snowboarding (which never ended well).
But children are a different story. A ton of pent-up energy combined with the excitement of a day off, and you have a potential powder keg of chaos…unless you try these tips out. Celebrate the specialness of a snow day while keeping kids (constructively) entertained—out in the snow or in front of the fireplace!
Let’s kick this list off with the indoor activities:
1. Build a Blanket Fort
Your first priority on a cold and snowy day should be making your home as cozy as possible, and these DIY blanket forts definitely deliver. After creating your basic framework and piling on the pillows and cushions, I’m willing to bet you’ll want to keep this snuggly hideout up way past this snow day…(and no judgement).
2. DIY Fake Snow
Here’s a way to enjoy all of the best parts about playing in the snow, without the hassle of bundling or chilly hands. A simple mix of conditioner and baking soda becomes cool, moldable snow just waited to be crafted. Clean up is a breeze since the mixture dissolves in water, and performs double-duty as a drain cleaner. Who said you can’t get kids to help with housework?
3. Indoor Ice Hockey
I’m almost 24 and can confidently say this might be my next DIY project, no shame. No skates or frozen lakes are needed to enjoy ice hockey, just a container of ice, and utensils and bottle caps to act as sticks and pucks. You could use a bigger sheet pan for more rink space, or wider goals for smaller hands. It’s totally customizable and a fun way to engage kids with a winter classic.
4. Fluffy “Snow” Painting
If your little Picasso would rather paint than build or play, this fluffy snow paint is about to be their new best friend. Shaving cream, glue and glitter make 3D sparkly snow goodness, which can be elevated further with a few drops of peppermint extract. The art will dry into soft and puffy mounds, turning snowmen and landscapes into the real deal.
5. Snow Cream
There’s no better incentive to behave than the promise of something tasty. I remember an episode of the kid’s show Little Bear where they made maple snow cream, and at the time I assumed it was fiction (along with talking bears and whatnot). As it turns out, all you need are a few simple ingredients and nature’s freezer to make a unique dessert everyone will love. You deserve a treat, too.
Next, we’re moving outdoors:
6. Kool-aid Snow Painting
‘Tis the season to bring your art adventures outdoors! Kool-aid mix and water are all you’ll need to set the kids up for some creative expression in the snow, which smells as great as it paints. Let the kids experiment with spray bottles, paint brushes and squeeze bottles to create a range of designs.
7. DIY Duct Tape Sleds
Let’s say you forgot to snag some traditional sleds, and don’t have any pool floats or inner tubes lying around. Never fear, you still participate in arguably the best part of winter! A flattened cardboard box wrapped in duct tape makes a surprisingly stable sled for your kids to enjoy at an unbeatable price. Let them customize colors and patterns, and before you know it you’ve recycled excess boxes and organized the sled race of the year.
8. Winter I Spy
Whether you’re planting interesting objects in the bushes or just focusing on nature, an I Spy-style scavenger hunt is a great way to keep kids active on a snow day. Hand out checklists of objects they need to find, and reward the fastest scavenger with a fun treat. All of the planning will be rewarded with very tired (aka nice and quiet) kids, so everyone wins!
9. Outdoor Ice Jewel Dig
Mini archeologists will have a blast conducting their very own backyard ice jewel excavation. You can fill custom ice cube molds with food coloring and water to create the jewels, or use flavored juices that double as ice pops if you have leftovers. After they’re frozen, bury them around your yard and let the kids explore! The bright colors pop beautifully against the snow, and what kid doesn’t like digging for treasure?
10. Monster Feet Snowshoes
Monster. Feet. Snowshoes. If this doesn’t earn you the title of Most Creative Parent, then nothing will! After measuring and designing the cardboard “monster feet” around snow boots, simply lace and secure them with string. It’s one thing to make it easier for little feet to navigate the snow, but bringing monsters into the mix is a whole different level of fun.
We hope you’re ready to confidently plan the next snow day! And if you have any other favorite ways to help kids beat winter boredom, let us know in the comments.